HMHBGA

Keeping Current @ the Capitol – Week of March 16, 2020

Author: HMHBGA Staff

Georgia General Assembly Suspended

Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston announced on March 12, 2020 that the Georgia General Assembly would suspend session indefinitely after Friday (legislative day 29). This decision was made in response to concerns about the potential spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The legislative session is expected to reconvene at an undetermined date. Keeping Current @ the Capitol will be updated when that date is determined. Read more about the decision here

What Happened on Crossover Day

March 12, 2020 was Crossover Day for the Georgia General Assembly. In order for bills to progress to law, they have to pass both the House of Representatives and Senate. They are then sent to the Governor’s desk for approval. Legislative Day 28 is known as Crossover Day and is the last day a bill can cross from one chamber to the other. 

A number of bills related to HMHBGA priorities crossed over by the end of Crossover Day and are able to progress through the legislative process. These bills include: 

  • HB 1114 (Cooper, R-Marietta) Pregnancy Medicaid Extension to Six Months
  • HB 1090 (Silcox, R-Sandy Springs) Workplace Break Time to Express Breast Milk
  • HB 1094 (Gaines, R-Athens) Paid Parental Leave for State Employees
  • SB 327 (Karinshak, D-Duluth) Workplace Break Time to Express Breast Milk
  • SB 375 (Mullis, R-Chickamauga) Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Relating to Minors
  • SB 408 (Strickland, R-McDonough) Family Care Act Sunset Removal 
  • Funds maintained related to maternal mortality reduction initiatives retained in the supplemental FY20 budget
  • $19.7 million in the proposed FY21 budget for Pregnancy Medicaid extension to six months

2020 HMHBGA Legislative & Policy Agenda
The link above will take you to our official 2020 legislative agenda. The items below are bills we are monitoring throughout the session. Legislation on this list is not necessarily endorsed by HMHBGA. 

What Moved Forward – House
HB 719 – Modernization of HIV Laws
(Deborah Silcox, R-Sandy Springs) Would update the current crimes and offenses statutes related to HIV transmission. Specifically decriminalizes the unintentional transmission of HIV. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

HB 789 – Surprise Bill Rating System
(Mark Newton, R-Augusta) Would provide for the creation of a surprise bill rating system and require insurers include hospital surprise bill ratings online and in print. [Senate Health & Human Services] 

HB 881 – Safe Place for Newborns Act
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would implement newborn safety incubators where mothers can place their newborns to prevent injury or death related to abandonment. [Health & Human Services]

HB 888 – Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act
(Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville) Would provide protection for consumers from surprise medical bills. [Senate Health & Human Services] 

HB 958 – The Maternity Supportive Housing Act
(Ed Setzler, R-Acworth) Would provide maternity supportive housing for pregnant and postpartum women up to 18 months after delivery. [House Juvenile Justice Committee] 

HB 993 – Vital Records Relating to Child Abuse Reports
(Katie Dempsey, R-Rome) Would provide vital records reports to the Division of Family and Children Services for cases involving child abuse or neglect. Vital records could include birth, death, and father registry data. [House Juvenile Justice Committee] 

HB 1054 – Newborn Screening for Various Disorders 
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would revise provisions related to newborn screening for various disorders. Would also create a Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations for newly added disorders. [House Health & Human Services]  

HB 1090 – Workplace Break Time to Express Breast Milk
(Deborah Silcox, R-Sandy Springs) Would require employers to provide reasonable break time to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her nursing child. [House Health & Human Services] 

HB 1094 – Paid Parental Leave for State Employees
(Houston Gaines, R-Athens) Would provide three weeks of paid parental leave for state employees. Leave would be provided for the birth of a child, adoption of a child, or foster placement of a child. [Senate Insurance & Labor] 

HB 1114 – Pregnancy Medicaid Coverage to Six Months Postpartum 
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would allow the Department of Community Health to apply for an 1115 Waiver to extend Pregnancy Medicaid to six months after delivery. [Senate Health & Human Services]

What Did Not Move Forward – House
HB 577 – Working for Two 
(Park Cannon, D-Atlanta) Would require certain accommodations in the workplace for pregnant and postpartum women, including, but not be limited to, more frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedules. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

HB 693– Expanding Medicaid to Improve Health Outcomes for New Mothers Act
(Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur) Would allow the Department of Community Health to extend Pregnancy Medicaid coverage to new mothers from 60 days postpartum to one full year postpartum from the date of delivery. [House Appropriations Committee] 

HB 717 – Georgia License Midwife Act
(Karen Mathiak, R-Griffin) Would create an Advisory Board for Licensed Midwives which would issue licenses to eligible applicants possessing national certification by the North American Registry of Midwives as a certified professional midwife. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

HB 731 – Increase Excise Tax on Tobacco Products
(Ron Stephens, R-Savannah) Would raise the tax on full-sized cigars from 23% of the wholesale cost price to 42%. Would raise the tax on a 20-pack of cigarettes from $0.37 cents per pack to $1.87 per pack. Would raise the tax on loose or smokeless tobacco from 10% of the wholesale cost price to 42%. [House Ways & Means Committee] 

HB 745 – Georgia Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act
(“Able” Mable Thomas, D-Atlanta)  Would mandate that every perinatal facility in Georgia implement an evidence based implicit bias program for all health care professionals involved in the perinatal care of patients. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

HB 746 – Women’s Right to Immediate Access Act
(Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia) Would amend the “Woman’s Right to Know Act,” by allowing a pregnant woman to decide not to review the materials provided by said Act, or to review the heartbeat or fetal monitoring as prescribed by the Act. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

HB 800 – Out of State OBGyn Reimbursement 
(Sandra Scott, D-Rex) Would allow OBGyn providers in border states (within 50 miles) to be reimbursed by Medicaid at the same rate as in-state providers. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

HB 801 – Safe Patient Limits Act
(Sandra Scott, D-Rex) Would limit the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered professional nurse in specified situations in hospitals. [House Health & Human Services Committee]

HB 809 – Prohibit Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors
(Angelika Kausche, D-Johns Creek) Would prohibit the sale of tobacco products and tobacco related objects (i.e. vaping) to persons under 21 years of age. [House Regulated Industries Committee]

HB 813 – Medicaid Expansion Program
(Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville) Would establish a Medicaid expansion program to provide health care coverage to uninsured individuals and allow for submission of a federal waiver request. [House Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care]

HB 864 – Vaping Excise Tax 
(Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee) Would apply an excise tax on the sale of sale of vapor devices and consumable vapor products and would require licensure for persons dealing with vapor devices.[House Ways & Means] 

HB 909 – Age Increase on Cigarettes & Vaping Products
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would increase the age of the sale and distribution of tobacco and vaping products. Would also prohibit marijuana flavored products. [Judiciary Non-Civil Committee]

HB 910 – Georgia Licensed Midwife Act
(Karen Mathiak, R-Griffin) Would provide for the licensure and regulation of midwives and create Advisory Group for Licensed Midwives. Would also provide exceptions to the operation of “Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act” to allow for the practice of midwifery. [Regulated Industries Committee] 

HB 993 – Vital Records Relating to Child Abuse Reports
(Katie Dempsey, R-Rome) Would provide vital records reports to the Division of Family and Children Services for cases involving child abuse or neglect. Vital records could include birth, death, and father registry data. [Juvenile Justice Committee] 

HB 1013 – PeachCare for Adults Act 
(Debbie Buckner, D-Junction City) Would establish the PeachCare for Adults Program, which would cover eligible adults at or below 133% of the federal poverty level who are not enrolled in Medicaid. [Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care]  

What Moved Forward – Senate

SB 303 – Georgia Right to Shop Act
(Ben Watson, R-Savannah) Would provide for the disclosure of certain pricing information through insurer websites to allow consumers to compare prices on non-emergency healthcare services. [House Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care


SB 307 – The Living Hope Home Act
(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) Would provide supportive housing for pregnant and postpartum women up to 18 months after delivery. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

SB 327 – Workplace Break Time to Express Breast Milk
(Zahra Karinshak, D-Duluth) Would require employers to provide reasonable break time to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her nursing child. [Senate Insurance & Labor Committee] 

SB 359 – Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act
(Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome) Would provide for certain consumer protections against surprise billing and mechanisms to resolve payment disputes between insurers and out-of-network providers. [House Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care] 

SB 372 – Public Health Updates
(Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia) Would modernize, clarify, and update provisions relating to public health. For example, updating terminology related to sexually transmitted diseases and create an Office of Women’s Health. [House Health & Human Services] 

SB 375 – Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Relating to Minors
(Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga) Would provide penalties for people under the age of 21 for selling and distribution of vaping and nicotine products for people under the age of 21. Would also define vapor products. [Regulated Industries and Utilities] 

SB 391 – Early Prescription Refills During Emergencies Ac
(Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta) Would require health insurance companies to cover early refills of a 30 day prescription supply for emergency situations. [House Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care

SB 408 – Family Care Act Sunset Removal 
(Brian Strickland, R-McDonough) Would remove the sunset date the Family Care Act, which allows employees use of sick leave for care of immediate family members. Without the removal of the sunset, the Family Care Act would be repealed on July 1, 2020. 

What Did Not Move Forward – Senate
SB 298 – Protections and Education for Minors Regarding Smoking & Vaping
(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) Would increase penalties for selling vaping products to minors, set the age of purchase for all tobacco and vaping products to 21, and restrict certain flavors and marketing imagery as it pertains to the sale of tobacco and vaping products. [Senate   Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee] 

SB 324– Pregnancy Medicaid Coverage to One Year
(Jennifer Jordan, D-Atlanta) Would provide Medicaid coverage for pregnant women for a period of not less than 12 months after delivery. [Senate Appropriations Committee] 

SB 330 & SB 339 – Peachcare Public Option Program
(Sally Harrell, D-Atlanta) Would establish a Medicaid public option program to provide healthcare coverage to individuals not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or the PeachCare for Kids Program. [Senate Appropriations Committee] 

SB 333 – Georgia Fatherhood Project
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) Would provide a program to re-engage fathers in their children’s lives as an effort to reduce crime. [Urban Affairs]

SB 334 – Certified Community Midwife Act
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) Would provide for the licensure and regulation of certified community midwives and create a Certified Community Midwife Board. [Senate Health & Human Services]

House & Senate Resolutions
Legislative resolutions (‘HR’ & ‘SR’) express legislative opinion or recognition on some matter and do not have the effect of law. Resolutions can recognize legislative days (i.e. Maternal Mental Health Day), commend a person or entity, or establish a study committee. 

Joint resolutions need to pass both the House and the Senate and therefore needed to crossover by March 12, 2020. Standalone resolutions can be passed up until Sine Die (last day of session). Below are a list of resolutions that have been introduced this session. Resolutions that have been read and adopted passed.

House Resolutions
HR 1083 – “Maternal Mortality in Georgia: An Epidemic for Black Women” 
(“Able” Mable Thomas, D-Atlanta) Would recognize the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys and the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Legislative Day, “Maternal Mortality in Georgia: An Epidemic for Black Women,” on February 6, 2020. House Read and Adopted February 5, 2020

HR 1168 – House Study Committee on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
(Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville) Would create a study committee to assess the affects of ACEs to improve maternal and child health. [House Special Rules] No Action

HR 1248 – House Study Committee on Infant and Maternal Mortality Among African Americans
(Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn) Would create a study committee to assess mortality among African American infants and mothers. [Health & Human Services] No Action

HR 1373 – Maternal Mental Health Day
(Katie Dempsey, R-Rome) Would recognize May 1, 2020 as Maternal Mental Health Day at the state capitol. House Read and Adopted March 3, 2020 

Senate Resolutions
SR 263 – Senate Emergency Medical Services Study Committee
(Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga) Would establish a Senate study committee to conduct a  review of emergency medical services safety standards, accreditation requirements, zoning for 9-1-1 response, and updates to the regulations and Title 31, relating to Georgia Code requirements for emergency medical services. [Senate Rules Committee] Passed Committee by Substitute

SR 520 – Senate Study Committee on Midwifery Practices
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) Would create a study committee to assess regulation of community midwives. [Senate Rules Committee] Passed Committee by Substitute 

SR 545 – Birth Safety Awareness Day
(Elena Parent, D-Atlanta) Would recognize March 16, 2020, as Birth Safety Awareness Day at the state capitol in recognition of Kason Choice and Robin Rohe-Oji, two children in recovery from severe birth injuries, and their families. Senate Read and Adopted

SR 763 – Community Midwives National Alliance Day
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) Would recognize February 26, 2020 as Community Midwives National Alliance Day. Senate Read and Adopted

Helpful Reminder: ‘No Action’ means there has been no update since the last newsletter.’SB’ or ‘HB’ refer to Senate and House BILLS. ‘SR’ or ‘HR’ refer to Senate and House RESOLUTIONS. Bills are used to propose changes or additions to existing statutory law, while resolutions usually express legislative opinion or recognition on some matter and do not have the effect of law. 

Mid Session Legislative Webinar: March 24 from 2-3PM
A one-hour Session on the mid-point of the 2020 legislative session will be held March 24, 2020 from 2-3PM. This webinar will include updates on the progress of maternal and infant health legislation. If you’re a birth advocate, healthcare professional, or simply a concerned community member, you don’t want to miss this session!

REGISTER HERE

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